There are different styles of conflict coaches and different styles of conflict coaching. When choosing a conflict coach, you have to be sure their style and approach melds with your needs.
The thing about finding a conflict coach is that you cannot be sure it’s the right fit until you give someone a try. When you have an issue and think you would benefit from coaching, it requires a bit of a shot in the dark. That’s not to say you are completely blind: you will have a sense of this person’s experience, credentials, and background even before meeting with him/her, thanks to the internet. Before you hire a conflict coach you should speak to the living, breathing person and ask him or her these 4 important questions:
- How do you approach coaching? How do you see your role?
- How do you broach difficult/sensitive/provocative issues?
- What do you expect of me? How do you see my role in this process?
- Are you going to be incredibly mean and abrasive?
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You can word that last one as you see fit, but it’s not an absurd question to ask. Some coaches take it as a point of pride that they have an almost adversarial approach. True, you are not looking for a best friend when you seek conflict coaching, but if you tend to respond to a more tempered approach, these coaches can impede rather than facilitate the process.
There is no one “right” way to approach coaching; some people prefer to get right into the meat of a situation and can handle aggressive questioning of their thinking, inconsistencies, etc. Others want to establish more trust before delving into difficult territory. Only you know what style suits you best. The goal is not to be comfortable; it is to get results. Do you need prodding, pushing, or a forceful shove to do this?